Julie Bishop arrives in Indonesia

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has landed in Indonesia for her first visit since the Bali Nine executions.

Ms Bishop will spend the day in Padang, west Sumatra for the Indian Ocean Rim Association Ministerial meeting.

Padang is currently blanketed in a thick haze from illegal forest fires burning in Sumatra.

Concern over the fires which have seen smoke spread as far south as Thailand will undoubtedly be raised by the ministers, along with defence cooperation, maritime safety and illegal fishing.

It is the only gathering that takes in most Indian ocean rim nations.

During the day, Ms Bishop will have several side bilateral meetings including with her Indian and Bangladeshi counterparts.

She will also have a one on one meeting with the Indonesian foreign minister, Retno Masudi.

The pair met for the first time after the execution of the two Australian drug smugglers in April, in what Ms Bishop described at the time as a very candid encounter.

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Australia withdrew its Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, in April this year to protest against the executions, and formal ministerial engagements between the nations stopped for months before beginning again in August.

Ms Bishop is now the fourth Australia Minister to visit Indonesia in just over two months.

The Indonesia Government said it was a sign of the strengthening relationship that Australia has now arranged for a ministerial visit to Indonesia once a month.


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